Caring for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
In recognition of national Health Center Week, we are celebrating the contributions of community health centers across the U.S. Today, health centers serve a remarkable 30 million people! That includes 8.7 million children, 385,000 veterans, and 1.3 million people experiencing homelessness.
Honoring our Health Care for the Homeless team
Our team at Santa Rosa Community Health cared for 2,133 people experiencing homelessness in 2019 – 5% of our patient population. We provide specialized health care to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness homeless in a variety of ways.
Brookwood Campus: The Brookwood Campus is the primary care home base for individuals experiencing homelessness and tailors its operations to accommodate patients’ needs by reserving same-day and walk-in slots for each shift and expanding time per visit. Other critical services available at Brookwood include: mental health and psychiatry, resource groups to help patients navigate the social safety-net system, case management for patients diagnosed with Opioid Use Disorder, and Medication Assisted Treatment. In addition, we work closely with community partners to provide patients with additional needed resource groups and refer patients into the Sonoma County Coordinated Entry system for shelter and permanent housing resources.
Mobile Care: In addition to the Brookwood Campus, SRCH also bring care to people experiencing homeless at shelters across the community. Nurse Practitioners, RNs, and support staff provide care at the Los Guilicos Shelter, the Finley Center and COVID emergency “Non-Congregate Shelter” sites at Alliance Redwoods Conference grounds and the Fairgrounds. SRCH also conducts outreach to people experiencing homelessness in street encampments to help engage them in care and played an important role caring for people on the Joe Rodota trail.
“I was in and out of prison due to my addiction. When I got out I had nowhere to go, so I was on the Joe Rodota trail. No one wanted to give me a second chance. I’m glad I found Dr. Chris, he has helped me out and has talked to me. He is helping me get through life. I am now 22 month’s drug free! I can’t believe how much I’ve changed…I have four daughters and now I am doing all of this for them!”
Care Coordination: Knowing that people experiencing homelessness face barriers to receiving care and often have acute co-morbidities exacerbated by a lack of stable housing, our Care Coordination department provides care coordination services through multiple programs including Whole Person Care, a collaboration with Sonoma County Behavioral Health, which also assists justice-involved patients. High utilizers of hospital resources can also receive assistance through an embedded SRCH-Care Coordinator at Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Room, a Homeless Care Transitions program, and Intensive Outpatient Case Management for managed care Medi-Cal patients. Patients are assisted with enrollment into benefits such as Medi-Cal, Path2Health, and CalFresh. Our Care Coordination department has also taken the lead in referring Santa Rosa residents experiencing homelessness into FEMA-supported Non-Congregate Shelter sites during the COVID emergency.
Partnership and Advocacy: SRCH participates in many Sonoma County and regional health care for the homeless groups to help coordinate services and advocacy across different organizations and systems of care. Homelessness is a complex issue and people experiencing homelessness are likewise asked to engage with a complex system of care and services. SRCH works with community partners and other stakeholders to reduce barriers and stigma, integrate care teams, and advocate for trauma-informed resources.
Help us care for the homeless and uninsured in Sonoma County
We’re hosting the Epic Trail Challenge: Hike for Health + Justice as a way to grow our health and raise funds to help us care for people like Kenneth and our over 10,000 patients without insurance. If you want to be a part, go to our Epic Trail Challenge page and make a donation to one of our SRCH staff hikers. Or – sign up to learn more and become a hiker yourself!